View Poll Results: What battle was the most decisive in the outcome of the American Civil War?

Voters
55. You may not vote on this poll
  • Fredericksburg

    1 1.82%
  • Antietam

    10 18.18%
  • Vicksburg

    8 14.55%
  • Gettysburg

    27 49.09%
  • Atlanta

    3 5.45%
  • Franklin

    5 9.09%
  • Shiloh

    1 1.82%
Page 2 of 11 FirstFirst 1234567891011 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 165

Thread: Most Decisive US Civil War Battle

  1. #16
    Administrator
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
    Join Date
    23 Aug 05
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    12,965
    bluesman,

    I wasn't aware that it was that critical and close, either, until I read 'Bloody Roads South', about the Wilderness through to Petersburg. It's one of history's great 'what-ifs', and I think what's most important to know about it is the effect a defeat of that magnitude would've had on the North: MASSIVE casualties in a battle at least as artful as Chancellorsville that would've pointed up the brilliance of Lee and the (apparent) definciencies of Grant, almost certainly leading to his relief as general-in-chief. If Grant had been mauled to the extent of losing a third or more of the Army of the Potomac JUST BEFORE the election (and that defeat would've been the end of the campaign, closing out 1864 with nothing else to come in the East), what with Lincoln's championing of Grant when almost everybody else wanted to throw him overboard - it was curtains for the Republicans, and the war would've ended with the North withdrawing and the Confederacy as an established fact.
    thanks for the book recommendation, will read up when i can.

    regarding the political ramifications of an enormous federal defeat in the east, i think it would have been muted by events in the west, especially with sherman's atlanta campaign.

    this happened at gettysburg, as well; had lee won at gettysburg, there would have been the corresponding victories at vicksburg for lincoln to point to. even in defeat, grant was still accomplishing one of his goals- keeping the ANV busy. had he lost "only" a third of his men, grant most likely would have kept on fighting- the battle at cold harbor (and this was fought at the END of the overland campaign) chewed up something along the order of 10-20% of the Army of the Potomac, but grant kept whaling lee regardless.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #17
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    bluesman,



    thanks for the book recommendation, will read up when i can.

    regarding the political ramifications of an enormous federal defeat in the east, i think it would have been muted by events in the west, especially with sherman's atlanta campaign.

    this happened at gettysburg, as well; had lee won at gettysburg, there would have been the corresponding victories at vicksburg for lincoln to point to. even in defeat, grant was still accomplishing one of his goals- keeping the ANV busy. had he lost "only" a third of his men, grant most likely would have kept on fighting- the battle at cold harbor (and this was fought at the END of the overland campaign) chewed up something along the order of 10-20% of the Army of the Potomac, but grant kept whaling lee regardless.
    I hear ya. But that's why I wrote that one of the conditions of Grant's relief would've been if the campaign had been compelled to end (as I believe it would've). Cold Harbor was different in that Grant still had the iniative, and by the time the good people of the North were reading about the disaster, Grant was pressing on, around Lee's right flank AGAIN, and it was clear he would just make good on the losses, and drive on.

    HOWEVER, if he'd been outmaneuvered and gored by a force half his size in another masterpiece of manuver warfare, almost identical to the performance Lee had turned in against Hooker the year before...report to Washingon for further orders, General. I don't believe it would've been equivalent to Grant being defeated in an attack upon Lee's works, no matter how bloodily repulsed, because there's always tomorrow, and another flank march. But at North Anna...too many dead and no good way forward would've compelled Grant to go all the way back. And that would've finished him AND Lincoln. Lincoln had backed him all the way from Ft. Donelson and the first rumors of drunken incompetence, through Shiloh when the Army of the Tennessee had been shamefully surprised and almost destroyed (being saved only by the timely intervention of the Army of the Ohio), the long Vicksburg campaign that seemed to take forever and was only helped by a half-witted performance from his counterpart; and the pressure to get rid of Grant, despised as he was by everybody that didn't actually understand the man's qualities (VERY few were aware of the pure gold that Grant represented), was enormous, so if Grant had been defeated comprehensively, Lincoln's judgement (and remember: nobody really liked Lincoln, either) would've been seen by the electorate to be faulty. Lincoln would've paid for his faith in Grant at the polls in November.

    We got SO lucky; if Lee and Hill had been on top of their respective games...lights out. Even Grant saw after it was over what Lee tried to do, and it must've given him night-sweats to think about it. He never again put himself and the Army of the Potomac in a position where Lee could crush a wing at a time, like Lee was wont to do if presented with the opportunity.

  3. #18
    Banned deadkenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    06 Apr 05
    Posts
    428
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Okay, I get you now. BUT...

    Franklin DID decide events. Therefore, it was DECISIVE. Nashville, if you want to look at it that way, was merely a formality. Or, as I said, (I really like the way that reads. )

    From the 'Battle of Franklin' wiki entry: 'The Army of Tennessee was all but destroyed at Franklin. Nevertheless, Hood immediately advanced against the entire Union Army of the Cumberland, firmly entrenched at Nashville with the Army of the Ohio, leading his battered forces to further, and final, disaster in the Battle of Nashville.'

    From the 'Battle of Nashville' wiki entry: 'Historian David Eicher remarked, "If Hood mortally wounded his army at Franklin, he would kill it two weeks later at Nashville."'

    Nothing more needed to be done to destroy Hood; it had already been accomplished. He just didn't know it because he was constantly stoned on laudanum. So, when I said Hood had been 'destroyed', obviously he was still in the field, BUT his army was incapable of anything except being defeated once and for all at the subsequent action; it was inevitable, and therefore, the decision had been reached PRIOR to that final battle. That is the definition of 'decisive'; the matter was decided at Franklin, NOT Nashville.
    I can see where you're coming from, however, viewing Franklin as making the result at Nashville 'inevitable' is a retrospective view. After Franklin, Hood still had an army in the field, albeit a weakened one. In theory he could have pulled back or taken another approach - i.e. decisions such as detaching Forrest and taking up a position outside of Nashville with the remainder of his force were still decisions to be made 'in the future' in the aftermath of Franklin.

    The very fact that Hood's forces were mauled so badly by only a portion of the Union forces (Schofield's) before they could link up with the remaining Union forces (Thomas') calls into question whether Hood was strong enough in the first place to succeed in this 'indirect approach' of cutting off Sherman's LoC and destroying isolated Union detachments piecemeal. Arguably Hood missed a much better chance to defeat Schofield at Spring Hill - which might then be considered the 'decisive' battle. Once Schofield fell back to his fortified postions at Franklin, it was all pretty much a formality, since Hood obviously lacked the strength to win a decisive victory against Schofield's entrenched forces, and even more so against the combination of Schofield's and Thomas' forces.

    For my part, that's why I would consider the 'decisive' battle to have taken place prior to the entire Franklin-Nashville campaign. The final 'collapse' of the West really started with Chattanooga, and snowballed downhill with the Atlanta campaign. Once Sherman was in possession of Atlanta, there wasn't really anything Hood could do. We know, with hindsight, that Sherman could conduct his 'march to the sea' without maintaining a LoC back through Tenn/Kentucky. Hood wasn't strong enough to take on Sherman head-to-head, and in fact he wasn't even strong enough to take on the Union's 'rear area' forces (i.e. Thomas and Schofield). Any small chance he might have had to 'pounce' on a Union force on possibly advantageous terms was lost after Spring Hill. At that point, Hood's only options were to 'whither on the vine' or go out in a 'blaze of glory'. It's not surprizing that Hood chose the latter.

  4. #19
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    I can see where you're coming from, however, viewing Franklin as making the result at Nashville 'inevitable' is a retrospective view.
    Well, I obviously disagree. I mean, EVERYbody knew Hood was finished, and Thomas dam' near got himself relieved because Lincoln lost patience waiting for him to go ahead and finish the job that Hood did all the heavy lifting for.

    Sherman said that Nashville was won at Franklin; it WAS inevitable.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    After Franklin, Hood still had an army in the field, albeit a weakened one.
    Not 'weakened; that implies it was still useful, good for something. It wasn't. What it was was mortally wounded, and useless as a manuever force.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    In theory he could have pulled back or taken another approach - i.e. decisions such as detaching Forrest and taking up a position outside of Nashville with the remainder of his force were still decisions to be made 'in the future' in the aftermath of Franklin.
    Well, if by 'in theory' you mean following a victorious Union force to a point of rendezvous with an even bigger Union force with your gutted-out and shredded 'force' was about the dumbest thing Hood could have done, I suppose I have to agree. But no matter WHAT was done, that army was FINISHED. It was now doomed, and its proximity to its undertaker was simply a matter of time and space, but not of outcome; that was a settled question, and the answer came at Franklin.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    The very fact that Hood's forces were mauled so badly by only a portion of the Union forces (Schofield's) before they could link up with the remaining Union forces (Thomas') calls into question whether Hood was strong enough in the first place to succeed in this 'indirect approach' of cutting off Sherman's LoC and destroying isolated Union detachments piecemeal.
    True, it was NOT strong enough, especially when used in the wasteful fashion that it was. It should NOT have been so used, and that's my point: by fighting at Franklin, Hood wasn't going to WIN, but he could LOSE (I'm talking about the THEATER, not the BATTLE, although losing the latter meant he lost the former, too), which he then did in spectacular fashion.

    Remember: Hood's army was NOT starving. Oh, it was in tough shape, but it could have manuevered in the field until Lee gave up, a force-in-being right to the end of the war. And that's what I'm saying that you're missing: the Western theater was closed down irrevocably on the day Franklin was fought. Not before, because there was no compelling reason for Hood to throw his army away like that (lots of great reasons NOT to do it, in fact), and not after, because after Franklin, there was nothing left to determine except WHEN the coup de grace was delivered. The fact that the blow would be delivered was a done deal, and the deal was done at...FRANKLIN.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    Arguably Hood missed a much better chance to defeat Schofield at Spring Hill - which might then be considered the 'decisive' battle. Once Schofield fell back to his fortified postions at Franklin, it was all pretty much a formality, since Hood obviously lacked the strength to win a decisive victory against Schofield's entrenched forces, and even more so against the combination of Schofield's and Thomas' forces.
    Again, though, you're ignoring the fact that Hood NEED NOT have fought that battle, and he should have known that. Shelby Foote believes that Hood was 'disciplining' his army because of their failure at Spring Hill. James MacPherson said that Hood proved to his satisfaction that his army could assault entrenchments, and ensured that they would never again have the ability.

    I know what he was trying to do: emulate Stonewall by picking off an iolated detachment of manageable size. But he wasn't Stonewall; Schofield wasn't Banks. And the situation wasn't one that called for an all-or-nothing, hell-for-leather all-in gamble of the death-or-glory charge against a strongly-entrenched enemy that didn't want to even stay on the ground where the battle was fought. Hood should've looked at those breastworks...and gone the other way.

    That's not Monday-morning quarterbacking, either: Pat Cleburne told him the same thing, and by the end of the day, he and fourteen other Confederate generals were casualties (6 killed, 8 wounded, and 1 captured), and 65 field grade officers were lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    For my part, that's why I would consider the 'decisive' battle to have taken place prior to the entire Franklin-Nashville campaign. The final 'collapse' of the West really started with Chattanooga, and snowballed downhill with the Atlanta campaign. Once Sherman was in possession of Atlanta, there wasn't really anything Hood could do.
    Well, that's where I believe Hood and you are wrong. I believe he could've kept the army in the field and fighting indefinitely. True, the West was an almost-unbroken string of defeats and disasters, and ALL of it was a string of connected events, but NONE of those events necessarily led to the irretreivable loss of the entire theater in on 'go'. Until Franklin. THEN it was OVER.

    Quote Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
    We know, with hindsight, that Sherman could conduct his 'march to the sea' without maintaining a LoC back through Tenn/Kentucky. Hood wasn't strong enough to take on Sherman head-to-head, and in fact he wasn't even strong enough to take on the Union's 'rear area' forces (i.e. Thomas and Schofield). Any small chance he might have had to 'pounce' on a Union force on possibly advantageous terms was lost after Spring Hill. At that point, Hood's only options were to 'whither on the vine' or go out in a 'blaze of glory'. It's not surprizing that Hood chose the latter.
    Well, I do see that, but surely you must see that Hood chose wrongly. And that goes back to my original point: Hood fought a completely optional and disastrous battle that meant the South had effectively lost any chance to distress, harrass, annoy, distract or in any way impede Union forces for a vast and vital region of the States in rebellion. In short, they lost ALL control over the main part of their entire country, except for the isolated detachments that held this port or that city or whatever, AND except that last, lone army that was worthy of being called that, which was itself effectively tethered to the capital, and therefore also of no strategic threat to any part of the Union war aims. DECISIVE.

    The war was DECIDED at Franklin.
    Last edited by Bluesman; 24 Apr 07, at 18:39.

  5. #20
    Administrator
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
    Join Date
    23 Aug 05
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    12,965
    bluesman,

    i guess the question is, how much could hood have DONE with that army, had it won (or better yet, not fought) the battle of franklin.

    especially after the union armies in the western theater (minus sherman, of course) linked up. hood wouldn't, and couldn't, do anything against what sherman was doing- and that was the knock out blow.

    even had it not been hood, but someone like longstreet, the army of the Tennessee just didn't seem to have the power anymore to influence things. it could maneuver in the field, but to what end? the battle of franklin just seemed to kill soldiers who would have instead surrendered when lee did. if anything, the numerical odds against hood were worse than what lee had to face. and hood had to defend a hell of a lot more territory- lee only had to cover richmond.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  6. #21
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    bluesman,

    i guess the question is, how much could hood have DONE with that army, had it won (or better yet, not fought) the battle of franklin.

    especially after the union armies in the western theater (minus sherman, of course) linked up. hood wouldn't, and couldn't, do anything against what sherman was doing- and that was the knock out blow.

    even had it not been hood, but someone like longstreet, the army of the Tennessee just didn't seem to have the power anymore to influence things. it could maneuver in the field, but to what end? the battle of franklin just seemed to kill soldiers who would have instead surrendered when lee did. if anything, the numerical odds against hood were worse than what lee had to face. and hood had to defend a hell of a lot more territory- lee only had to cover richmond.

    BUT...was the West secured for the Union BEFORE Franklin? NO, emphatically it was NOT. Oh, the Federals could not be stopped, but neither could they destroy Hood, unless he helped by making gross errors (which he did), AND they could be temporarily checked, just by maintaining a clenched fist, which is what an army is. They had to remain poised and on-guard for whatever Hood MAY be able to do. Until he was finally destroyed, and then the Federals could divide into a jillion detachments to go and mop up enemy outposts and garrisons and spread Federal control into territory that was wider than just where the main body's tents were.

    Was the West secured for the Union AFTER Franklin? Oh, hell YES, it sure was, emphatically so. And then, there was simply nothing at all that was going to save the South. Now, to my mind, that is the definition of 'decisive'.

    It's been said of Hood that his curse was to be such an excellent leader and such a poor general, and his inability to see his mission as one of just REMAINING, in order to keep Union forces oriented on his army. (Okay, didn't really work with Sherman, BUT, if he'd been impossible to corner by the other Federal forces, would Uncle Billy have been able to leave the Deep South for the Carolinas? Maybe NOT, and there's a net profit for the Confederacy right there.)

    If Hood is leading a decent army, even one so over-matched as his was, he's still having an effect on the enemy. They can't let him go to Kentucky (where there are recruits, depots and fresh horseflesh), maybe even St Louis (where there are tons of supplies, rolling stock, inter-river shipping and MONEY). He can't be allowed to rampage around in the Mississippi delta, lest the Father of Waters be once again vexed. He is dangerous to the eastern Tennessee loyalists. He may even be able to do to the Federals what they've been doing to him, which is unleash the cavalry under the matchless master of the Grand Raid, that devil Forrest, and start tearing up track, bridge and culvert. Any detachment smaller than even odds is at risk, so they dare not move in anything but a slow and unweildy mass while he's still out there with a credible force.

    But he solved all those problems for the Union in five short hours.

  7. #22
    Banned deadkenny's Avatar
    Join Date
    06 Apr 05
    Posts
    428
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Well, I obviously disagree….
    Nothing wrong with a little disagreement. As long as it doesn’t degenerate into flaming, it can be quite interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Not 'weakened; that implies it was still useful, good for something. It wasn't. What it was was mortally wounded, and useless as a manuever force.
    Well, let’s look at some figures. Before the Battle of Franklin, Hood’s army numbered approx. 38,000. Total losses from the battle were 6,252 casualties, including 1,750 killed and 3,800 wounded. Some of the wounded would have been able to return to duty. As well, some of the ‘other’ losses would have been ‘missing’ who wandered off or fled and who could also have returned. Admittedly, that was a hell of a beating to take in a single day by the standards of the time, but even after Franklin Hood had a force well in excess of 30,000.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Well, if by 'in theory' you mean following a victorious Union force to a point of rendezvous with an even bigger Union force with your gutted-out and shredded 'force' was about the dumbest thing Hood could have done, I suppose I have to agree. But no matter WHAT was done, that army was FINISHED. It was now doomed, and its proximity to its undertaker was simply a matter of time and space, but not of outcome; that was a settled question, and the answer came at Franklin.
    My point was simply that Hood still had the freedom to move in another direction than fighting the Battle of Nashville. The result of Franklin may well have made the outcome of Nashville ‘inevitable’, GIVEN THAT IT WAS FOUGHT at all. However, Franklin did not make the fighting at Nashville inevitable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    True, it was NOT strong enough, especially when used in the wasteful fashion that it was. It should NOT have been so used, and that's my point: by fighting at Franklin, Hood wasn't going to WIN, but he could LOSE (I'm talking about the THEATER, not the BATTLE, although losing the latter meant he lost the former, too), which he then did in spectacular fashion.

    Remember: Hood's army was NOT starving. Oh, it was in tough shape, but it could have manuevered in the field until Lee gave up, a force-in-being right to the end of the war. And that's what I'm saying that you're missing: the Western theater was closed down irrevocably on the day Franklin was fought. Not before, because there was no compelling reason for Hood to throw his army away like that (lots of great reasons NOT to do it, in fact), and not after, because after Franklin, there was nothing left to determine except WHEN the coup de grace was delivered. The fact that the blow would be delivered was a done deal, and the deal was done at...FRANKLIN.
    But again ‘maneuvered in the field’ to what end? If he wasn’t strong enough to succeed in the objective of this entire campaign, then the ‘decisive’ point was earlier – before the entire campaign started. It’s also important to keep in mind that Hood was in command in the first place because Davis removed Johnson for not being sufficiently ‘aggressive’ during the Atlanta campaign. So Hood would not likely been in command long if he had simply ‘maneuvered in the field’ while Union armies were laying waste to the interior of the CSA and finishing off the ANV.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    I know what he was trying to do: emulate Stonewall by picking off an isolated detachment of manageable size. But he wasn't Stonewall; Schofield wasn't Banks. And the situation wasn't one that called for an all-or-nothing, hell-for-leather all-in gamble of the death-or-glory charge against a strongly-entrenched enemy that didn't want to even stay on the ground where the battle was fought. Hood should've looked at those breastworks...and gone the other way.
    Yes, I think that is key – Hood wasn’t facing the incompetent Union commanders from earlier in the war. Nor was he facing the ‘untried’ Union soldiers from earlier in the war. But he was put in command to be more aggressive, and decided to take a shot at ‘reversing’ the fortunes of the CSA, even though those chances were already somewhere between slim and none.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Well, that's where I believe Hood and you are wrong. I believe he could've kept the army in the field and fighting indefinitely. True, the West was an almost-unbroken string of defeats and disasters, and ALL of it was a string of connected events, but NONE of those events necessarily led to the irretreivable loss of the entire theater in on 'go'. Until Franklin. THEN it was OVER.
    Again, kept his army in the field indefinitely to what end? Once Sherman is loose the Confederacy is going to be ‘gutted’ and Lee crushed no matter what Hood does out west. The only ‘chance’ at that point was for Hood to defeat Schofield and Thomas (individually / separately) and then turn back east and try to help Lee fend off Grant and Sherman. The fact that Hood wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to accomplish that simply points to the fact that the real ‘decision’ had been reached earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    Well, I do see that, but surely you must see that Hood chose wrongly. And that goes back to my original point: Hood fought a completely optional and disastrous battle that meant the South had effectively lost any chance to distress, harrass, annoy, distract or in any way impede Union forces for a vast and vital region of the States in rebellion. In short, they lost ALL control over the main part of their entire country, except for the isolated detachments that held this port or that city or whatever, AND except that last, lone army that was worthy of being called that, which was itself effectively tethered to the capital, and therefore also of no strategic threat to any part of the Union war aims. DECISIVE.

    The war was DECIDED at Franklin.
    I’m not sure there was any ‘correct’ choice for Hood to make after Atlanta. What could he have done to significantly affect the outcome of the war? If he had ‘followed’ Sherman then Schofield and Thomas simply would have ‘mopped up’ the west and eventually closed in behind him. He’s not strong enough to defeat Schofield and Thomas, unless they make mistakes and he attacks them at the right time and place. If he simply ‘wanders around’ in the west, avoiding any decisive conflict then Grant and Sherman crush Lee and the Confederacy surrenders anyway. The ‘no win’ position Hood was in pre-Franklin indicates to me that the decisive battle had already taken place earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    …I guess the question is, how much could Hood have DONE with that army, had it won (or better yet, not fought) the Battle of Franklin….

    …. Hood wouldn't, and couldn't, do anything against what Sherman was doing- and that was the knock out blow….

    …. of the Tennessee just didn't seem to have the power anymore to influence things. It could maneuver in the field, but to what end? The battle of Franklin just seemed to kill soldiers who would have instead surrendered when Lee did.….
    Exactly! After Atlanta Hood was in a no win situation. He wasn’t strong enough to face Sherman head-to-head. If he had stayed in Atlanta, his force would have been cutoff and surrounded, unable to stop the Union anywhere in the Theatre. If he had dispersed, he risked being defeated piecemeal. Once he ‘released’ from Sherman and started his ‘Franklin-Nashville’ campaign against Schofield and Thomas, Sherman was free to devastate the CSA and take Lee ‘in the rear’ while Grant tied him down frontally.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    BUT...was the West secured for the Union BEFORE Franklin? NO, emphatically it was NOT. Oh, the Federals could not be stopped, but neither could they destroy Hood, unless he helped by making gross errors (which he did), AND they could be temporarily checked, just by maintaining a clenched fist, which is what an army is. They had to remain poised and on-guard for whatever Hood MAY be able to do. Until he was finally destroyed, and then the Federals could divide into a jillion detachments to go and mop up enemy outposts and garrisons and spread Federal control into territory that was wider than just where the main body's tents were.

    Was the West secured for the Union AFTER Franklin? Oh, hell YES, it sure was, emphatically so. And then, there was simply nothing at all that was going to save the South. Now, to my mind, that is the definition of 'decisive'.
    Again, a no-win situation for Hood. Keeping his army ‘intact’ in the field doesn’t prevent the Confederacy from being defeated. That was a done deal once Sherman ‘broke through’ with no one to stop him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    It's been said of Hood that his curse was to be such an excellent leader and such a poor general, and his inability to see his mission as one of just REMAINING, in order to keep Union forces oriented on his army. (Okay, didn't really work with Sherman, BUT, if he'd been impossible to corner by the other Federal forces, would Uncle Billy have been able to leave the Deep South for the Carolinas? Maybe NOT, and there's a net profit for the Confederacy right there.) .
    Sure, if you assume that Sherman is going to make a mistake and chase after Hood. However, he also had Thomas and Schofield to keep Hood busy while he (Sherman) headed northeast. Hood simply wasn’t strong enough to face all of the forces arrayed against him. He tried to get Sherman to ‘come after him’ by threatening his LoC – Sherman wasn’t having any of it. How do you suggest that Hood could have gotten Sherman to give up on his Carolinas campaign when he had already failed to do so during his entire campaign up to Franklin? If Sherman wasn’t biting up to that point, I don’t see how Hood avoiding Franklin would have changed what Sherman was doing.

  8. #23
    Senior Contributor GVChamp's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Aug 06
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,242
    Bull Run.
    Decided that the war wasn't going to be short and the Union gave a collective "awwwwwww ****"
    "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

  9. #24
    Global Moderator
    Devil's Advocate
    ArmchairGeneral's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 May 06
    Location
    Boston, MA.
    Posts
    4,668
    I'm deeply ashamed at the inadequacy of my Civil War knowledge, or at least slightly annoyed, but -given my ignorance- I think I'll provisionally go for Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Gettysburg, in that order. Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two, Chattie opened up the heart of the South to Sherman's destruction, and Gettysburg ended Lee's hopes of a "decisive battle."
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

  10. #25
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Quote Originally Posted by ArmchairGeneral View Post
    I'm deeply ashamed at the inadequacy of my Civil War knowledge, or at least slightly annoyed, but -given my ignorance- I think I'll provisionally go for Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Gettysburg, in that order. Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two, Chattie opened up the heart of the South to Sherman's destruction, and Gettysburg ended Lee's hopes of a "decisive battle."
    1. Vicksburg wasn't a battle. Technically, it doesn't belong on the list.
    2. Chattanooga decided who controlled Tennessee, so it's a good pick, BUT it may not be THE MOST decisive battle.
    3. Gettysburg didn't really end Lee's hopes of a decisive battle. It could've happened, and almost did at least once.

  11. #26
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Quote Originally Posted by GVChamp View Post
    Bull Run.
    Decided that the war wasn't going to be short and the Union gave a collective "awwwwwww ****"
    But the war could've - and should've - ended the next year, at Sharpsburg. It was pathetic that it did NOT end there, and eighteen months isn't a particularly long civil war, so although being longer than what was anticipated, it need not have necessarily been 'decided' at Bull Run that the war was going to go over four years.

  12. #27
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 May 05
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA.
    Posts
    14,728
    I voted Gettysburgh, It was pretty much over for the South afterwards and they knew it while marching home.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  13. #28
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 May 05
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA.
    Posts
    14,728
    Ever notice Andersonville isin't mentioned much and the suffering that took place there among several other locations that prisoners were held. Though not what we would consider a battle. It was more a battle of survival for both sides that were prisoners.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  14. #29
    Administrator
    Lei Feng Protege
    Defense Professional
    Join Date
    23 Aug 05
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    12,965
    not sure how it was decisive, either.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  15. #30
    Global Moderator
    Devil's Advocate
    ArmchairGeneral's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 May 06
    Location
    Boston, MA.
    Posts
    4,668
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesman View Post
    1. Vicksburg wasn't a battle. Technically, it doesn't belong on the list.
    Battle of Vicksburg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Granted, it was only the culmination of a series of battles, but even so, the entire point was to take Vicksburg.

    2. Chattanooga decided who controlled Tennessee, so it's a good pick, BUT it may not be THE MOST decisive battle.
    Taking Chattanooga also opened Georgia and the rest of the South to Sherman, allowing him to cut the heart out of the Confederacy. Perhaps just as importantly, it was a vital rail hub for the South. Stopping railway transport meant no supplies, and an army without supplies is not an army.

    3. Gettysburg didn't really end Lee's hopes of a decisive battle. It could've happened, and almost did at least once.
    I really don't see how Lee could have produced a truly "decisive" battle after that. The point of the decisive battle is mainly psychological; after Gettysburg and Vicksburg, I find it hard to believe that anything short of absolute catastrophic defeat would have dampened the Union's spirits. They had always had the means to win; after those battles, they had the will to win, in a big way.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Carrier Battle Group Essay
    By rickusn in forum Naval Warfare
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: 05 Sep 07,, 17:27
  2. Battleship History Article
    By rickusn in forum Battleships Board
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17 Jan 07,, 15:16
  3. Articles and links for the Military Professional
    By Officer of Engineers in forum The Staff College
    Replies: 115
    Last Post: 20 Nov 06,, 15:28
  4. Guerilla Warfare
    By troung in forum The Staff College
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 05 Apr 06,, 07:25
  5. No End to War. What the conservatives think of the Neo-thugs!
    By lulldapull in forum Europe and Russia
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 13 Feb 05,, 23:16

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •